Social and health problems imply an impact on society. The main objective of this study is to provide an overview of how Spanish people perceive cancer, terrorism, cardiovascular diseases, crime, AIDS, drugs, and traffic accidents, finding out whether they assess the importance of these issues in correspondence with their actual severity. The study used a full sample of 1206 Spaniards (51.6% females and 48.4% males) who responded to a computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) survey on the significance of these social and health-related problems, assessed through a zero to ten Likert scale. The perceived severity of the problems was considered taking into account the official data of deaths reported by governmental institutions. For the comparison of mean values, the One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test was used. Results show high average values for all the problems. The most concerning elements are cancer (M
= 9.28 ± 1.24) and terrorism (M
= 9.22 ± 1.47). Cardiovascular diseases have the lowest scores (M
= 8.29 ± 1.64). There is a good adjustment between real and subjective perception, but some issues are either underestimated or overestimated. Women assessed all of them as more important than men, and people over 65 gave all the issues more value than younger people. It is important that Spaniards understand the objective severity of these issues, thus allowing for more interventions by governments, education, and mass media.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited